Cheil Creates a Smartphone App for North Korean Defectors

Agency Aims to Help Teens Overcome Differences in Language

Published On
Mar 18, 2015

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Since the country was separated more than 60 years ago, language in North Korea and South Korea has developed differently -- and, according to a 2012 study by the National Institute of the Korean Language, North Korean defectors understand only half of the Korean language used in the South. For example, South Koreans simply use the English term "penalty kick" when playing football, while their counterparts in the North say a word meaning "11-meter punishment" in translation.

To this end, Korean agency Cheil Worldwide has developed a smartphone app designed to help people, particularly teens, with the differences in language between the two countries. The agency partnered with DreamTouchForAll, a non-profit education organization, and Community Chest of Korea, a charitable organization, to develop the Univoca South Korean-North Korean Translator, which works like a digital dictionary.

The app includes 3,600 words used in Korean language textbooks for high school students. When a user scans an unfamiliar word with a smartphone, the translated text appears. Users can also manually input text for translation and can request words to be added to the app for future updates.


Mar 18, 2015

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